How to Style Your Home When You’re Not Made of Money

Meg's best tips, plus a peek inside her new house

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

apw x modcloth

ModCloth Home Decor (23 of 72)

How Do You Adieu? Doormat (on sale for $27.99), A Vibe Called Zest Heel (on sale for $14.99)

Two months ago, we moved into the first house we’ve ever owned. As of today, it looks like the dream home I’ve always hoped for.

Just kidding. Obviously that is not true at all. But any of you who own houses, or have moved with small children, knew that already. I, however, am easily suckered by the Internet (still! After all this time!), and was sure I would have accomplished fifty different DIY projects by now, have impeccably decorated rooms, and possibly have retiled a bathroom during naptime.

The first problem is that I care about decorating my house. A lot. Perhaps you are the kind of person who just wants your house to be functional? Who doesn’t have a specific design aesthetic? If so, I salute you, because the interior of your brain is probably much saner than mine. The second problem is that I am an obsessive reader of DIY porn. Turns out, the Internet largely fails to clue you in on how long it takes to get those houses to perfection (years), or how much a given makeover costs (lots).


Point Taken Pillow ($39.99), Let Nurture Take Its Course Pillow ($39.99), Surely I’ll Manage Mug ($16.99), Like It or Note Notebook in Flora ($14.99)

So when ModCloth asked us to try out items from their home collection, I jumped at it, because frankly, I needed an excuse to prove to myself that I could pick up some ground-up cracker mess and start to make a home that looks stylish… at least in occasional corners. The great thing about ModCloth’s home collection (aside from the fact that it’s packed with plenty of cute things) is that it’s super affordable. In fact, they have a whole section of décor items for under $30, which is about what I have to spend, post home/rug purchasing. (Can we all just cry together for a minute over the cost of floor coverings? #RugsCostTooDamnMuch.)

See, I have a decorating sickness called “I have expensive taste, damn it.” So when I realize we need chairs, for example, I’ll research endlessly and find the perfect chair. But did you know that single chairs can cost $750? I did not. So then I try to find a knockoff, and cry, and then give up because OMG THIS PROJECT OMG EXPENSIVE TEARS when honestly, what I really need to cheer me up is probably these $19.99 color-dipped coasters. (Which, no joke, every time I see them around the house, make me grin.)

ModCloth Home Decor (46 of 72)

Ol’ Buddy, Ol’ Palette Coaster Set ($19.99)

So ModCloth was kind enough to send over a handful of super cute home products, all under $40. And together with Maddie and Ashley Rose Conway (stylist and cocktail-maker extraordinaire), we spent two afternoons getting small areas of my house in order. Here is what I learned:

ModCloth Home Decor (2 of 2)

Advanced Style: Older & Wiser ($34.99)

Start Small: You cannot make your whole house look Pinterest-level cute. At least not today. And probably not even this year. You can, however, make a side table look great, and then go from there. So pick one to three tiny areas of your house that you interact with often, and get to work on them. We picked: my dresser, my vanity, a side table, and a shelf of the bookcase.

ModCloth Home Decor (16 of 72)

Dresser to the Nines Jewelry Holder ($17.99), Equator to Your Needs Jewelry Holder ($17.99)

Take Time to Play: When you see a perfect interior shot on Pinterest, it’s easy to assume that person has perfect taste and an impeccable house. The truth probably is that everything behind the camera is currently a godforsaken mess, and that they just spent the last two hours trying to figure out how to make some small part of the room really work.

When we were styling the side table in the living room, I took basically every lamp in the house and stuck them on that table one by one. I changed shades; I tried everything. Finally, in desperation, I grabbed a lamp my grandmother made from driftwood from the dining room and stuck it there. Boom. Perfection. (I still am not sure what lamp will work on the other side table, since I do not have two one-of-a-kind family heirloom driftwood lamps, but one of these days I’ll figure it out.)

ModCloth Home Decor (1 of 3)

Point Taken Pillow ($39.99), Let Nurture Take Its Course Pillow ($39.99)

Have Friends with Good Taste Come Help You: Not everyone is friends with a stylist (Ashley), but everyone has a friend with good taste, and/or a good eye. Having someone in the room giving you opinions helps you figure out what works (and if you crack open a bottle of rosé, the whole thing is that much more fun). Plus, if your friends are anything like mine, they love being asked their opinions.

ModCloth Home Decor (64 of 72)

Luminous Luxe Soap Dispenser ($19.99), Equator to Your Needs Jewelry Holder ($17.99), I Got Thistle Planner ($21.99), Like It or Note Notebook in Flora ($14.99)

Feel Free to Buy Things and Return Them: I’ve learned that decorating is almost never a one-and-done deal. You think you got the perfect throw at ModCloth, but decide you want to change it out, but it’s fine because ModCloth has a super generous return policy, so you send it back and get a new one, and then accidentally buy a new pair of jeans as well (this is obviously not a true story, oops).

ModCloth Home Decor (33 of 72)

Advanced Style: Older & Wiser ($34.99)

Borrow Things to Be Inspired: My favorite thing about working with a stylist is they walk into your room with a magic bag full of props. And while you can actually hire an up-and-coming stylist to help you out if you live in a big city (often very affordably), you can also just have a friend with good taste bring over a bunch of stuff she likes, or order a box full of stuff from ModCloth to play around with and return what doesn’t work. When Ashley showed up at my house, she brought a ton of houseplants I loved. She took them home again, but I’m buying some for myself (and I picked up some fake house plants to put places the baby will manhandle them).

ModCloth Home Decor (4 of 72)

Dresser to the Nines Jewelry Holder ($17.99), Equator to Your Needs Jewelry Holder ($17.99), Leaf the Fest to Me Jewelry Dish ($19.99)

Remember That Little Things Make a Big Difference: The number one thing I learned from this shoot is that, while you think it’s the brand-new couch that’s going to change the whole room, changing out a pillow or getting a new throw can actually change the mood faster than that huge investment piece can. Which is good, because you can afford it faster, too.

ModCloth Home Decor (1 of 1)-4

Marquee My Words! Lamp ($29.99)

Take Pictures: If I didn’t write for the Internet, it would never occur to me to take pictures of my home as I’m fixing it up it. But the process of taking pictures often tells me more about what’s working than my own eye does. You can 110 percent do this with an iPhone. But set up your nook, and then take a picture. Does it feel balanced? Are there big empty holes? Are the colors working together? Adjust and take another picture. At some point everything will click, and you’ll drink rosé.

ModCloth Home Decor (3 of 6)

Luminous Luxe Soap Dispenser ($19.99), Equator to Your Needs Jewelry Holder ($17.99), Like It or Note Notebook in Flora ($14.99), I Got Thistle Planner ($21.99)

Mix Old and New: People often give the advice to mix vintage and modern, and while I am giving you basically that advice, I’ve found that “vintage” and “modern” can mean “expensive” and “really fucking expensive.” So my mix looks more like Craigslist finds (some of them free!), Ikea hacks, family furniture reimagined, flea market finds, and yes, the occasional properly new furniture splurge. But what I learned this week is that new does not have to mean big and expensive, and ModCloth is a great place to start when you’re looking for small and cute. Because it turns out a $30 marquee lamp from ModCloth can be the perfect new item to make your Craigslist dresser feel fancy.

ModCloth Home Decor (1 of 1)-3

Read the Best: Even though the Internet can make me all crazy, it also gives me some of the best ideas. And yes, if an idea is good, I will flat-out steal it with no regrets. Some of my favorites are my friend Jordan’s interiors section (we directly copied her Ikea built-in hack and it’s gorgeous); Little Green Notebook (Jenny is the absolute best at making something out of nothing—aka Craigslist, eBay, and IKEA); Emily Henderson (her blog is great, though sometimes full of expensive pretty things, but both her site and her book are the best at actually explaining how things work and why); Design Mom: How to Live with Kids (for… living with kids); and Niki KehoeAmber Interiors, and Sarah Sherman Samuel (I can’t afford a single thing they do, but I can eBay a similar outcome).

ModCloth Home Decor (12 of 72)

Point Taken Pillow ($39.99), Surely I’ll Manage Mug ($16.99), Let Nurture Take Its Course Pillow ($39.99), Ol’ Buddy, Ol’ Palette Coaster Set ($19.99)

Realize the Project of Your Home Will Go on Forever (and That’s Fun): You guys. So after two full days of styling, I ended up with four nicely styled areas in my home. Four teeny tiny areas. But that’s okay, because we hope to live in this house for the rest of our lives, and what’s life without projects? My next project will probably be the other side table, which already has some killer ModCloth coasters on it. Then one day I will, in fact, retile a bathroom (a girl can dream), and refinish my deck. But in the meantime, ModCloth just got a cute new alarm clock, and mine just broke. One step at a time.

See All Of Meg’s Home Picks Below:


This post was sponsored by ModCloth. ModCloth’s new home décor section is full of modern, stylish pieces at prices you can actually afford (no $750 chairs here). So whether you’re looking to spruce up your own home, or are in search of the perfect housewarming gift for your bestie, ModCloth has you covered. Click here to browse bedding, statement décor, kitchen and dining, office décor, and more.

The Info:

Photography: Melissa de Mata and Maddie Eisenhart for A Practical Wedding | Decor: ModCloth | Styling: Ashley Rose Conway and Meg Keene

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit

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  • scw

    I’m really glad this post makes it clear how important rosé is in the decorating process – and your house is looking great!

    • Lisa

      I’m really hoping the rosé made its way into the coffee mug after the last photo!

  • Mrrpaderp

    Love everything about this post. I NEED those shoes and that dress in my life. Will be wasting the rest of the day perusing Modcloth now. Also, for everyone who, like me, looks at things like the dipped coasters and thinks, “I could totes DIY that!,” just spend the $20. Your furniture and glassware and SO will thank you. Ask me how I know.

    Two thoughts inspired by this post: (1) Love the I Got Thistle planner – can we do a roundup of awesome planners for wedding planning AND the rest of your life? (2) I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that you’ll pair with Modcloth to do an office decor post! I seriously need some happy, cute, but not-too-twee art and accessories.

    • Her Lindsayship

      Seconding office decor request!!

      • MC

        Third!! My current project is making my home office look cute and there is surprisingly little I can find on the internet about how to do this…

        • Sarah M

          Fourth! Everything I’m finding is basically white/black/gold color combo minimalism with maybe pink as an accent, and while I initially liked it… I feel like I’ve seen essentially the same office done by 40 different people on Pinterest and it’s just not for me. Plus the “how to” of those offices is pretty much “buy all new things and spray paint gold accessories.” Just… no.

          • Meg Keene

            Out of pure curiosity (plus you know, maybe we CAN do the post), what do you want? Though sweet baby Jesus, I’m really over that office you’re talking about. It’s so… sweet. Can’t.

            (Though I do like spray panting things.)

          • Mrrpaderp

            Not the person you’re replying to, but there seem to be folks in a variety of industries here. I think a post that includes a range of conservative-but-fun as well as more artistic options would be great. For my conservative office, I need (1) functional desk accessories (in/out box, pen holder, business card holder); (2) organizational tools (like a file rack that actually works); (3) wall art; (4) something for my window ledge; and (5) book ends/something sturdy for my bookshelves and maybe even something to put on top of my bookshelves (?).

          • eating words

            @Mrrpaderp:disqus my recommendation for (1) is Poppin. Their accessories are super clean-looking and function well. My home office is prettier because of them.

          • MC

            I’ve seen a lot of posts about how to make office-ish spaces in tiny spaces (corner of a living room, kitchen counter, etc.) but since are lucky enough to have a whole room in our house that we call the office/library, there is more space to fill. I know in cities space is limited, but I’m really curious to see what other people’s office rooms look like. And yes to functional tools.

          • Kalë

            Glitter tape dispenser, actual space to do work, someplace for the paper clips to go, a snack drawer, a comfy yet not hideous chair…

          • Dess

            Fifth! Spray painting things is great fun, but not what I want in an office.

    • Meg Keene

      Don’t think we haven’t pitched them on an office decor post. TOTALLY have. And we’ll send them your request too!

  • Tuppet

    I actually did retile some of our bathroom, which was hard work and cost more than seems reasonable. No one will ever notice (when did you last complement someone’s shower tiles?). Changing the shower head to a fancier one is my favourite home improvement so far – super easy and worth every cent to have a shower that feels like you are standing in warm soaking rain – but i am the only one who cares.

    Everyone comments on the wedding photos hung in the kitchen though, which took 2 minutes to hang in $3 frames. Quick and easy and pretty :)

    • Meg Keene

      Oh, I TOTALLY notice people’s tile. I even look in windows and notice it. Our neighbors behind us have really nice tile in their kitchen ;) It’s just weird to SAY anything about it.

  • Sarah

    Not the point of this article, but those shoes are the cutest!!

  • Annie

    It isn’t a ModCloth item but that DRIFTWOOD LAMP!! Omg, I need it!

  • Sara

    My dad always tells me that I have ‘champagne taste on a beer budget’, so I feel your pain Meg. I bought my condo a year ago, and haven’t touched the bedrooms yet. But besides Modcloth (whom I love) I’ve found, Hobby Lobby and Home Goods to be my magic thrifty places and I save World Market/West Elm for when I find $100 on the ground.

    • Meg Keene

      “and I save World Market/West Elm for when I find $100 on the ground.”


  • Sarah E

    Super extra plus points for bookshelf that is, A. like 75% or more actual books and B. not organized by color.

    • Sarah M


    • Meg Keene

      WE HAVE A LOT OF BOOKS. We tried to weed through them and we got rid of boxes of stuff we never touch and we still have a ton. There is a whole other big bookshelf in another room.

      And I can’t organize by color. I have to organize by topic. I’m not a MONSTER.

  • Felicity

    Thanks for this post! I totally feel your pain on the rug front. I had zero idea that they were so pricey! A rug can really bring a room together though so I think we are saving up for one we really want for the living room. Not the point of the post, but Meg I love your bedside tables and vanity. Any chance you could share where you found them?

    • Meg Keene

      The bedside tables are west elm. We saved for them a few years ago, and I love them.

      The vanity is a family heirloom, it was my great-grandmothers, and grandmothers.

      • Felicity

        Thank you! Beautiful.

  • OMG that welcome mat is fabulous!!!! I also have expensive taste and a teeny budget, so our big splurge in our new place was PAINT! I know some people love all white, airy spaces, but I’m a huge fan of color. The entire apartment was painted traffic light yellow when we moved in, so leaving it alone wasn’t really an option. We went with a light blue toned gray in our kitchen, a gray blue in our living room, and a deep charcoal in our bedroom and office, and I was THRILLED with how it turned out.

    • Late reply, but I also love color! When we moved into our current rental, our landlord said we could go ahead and paint however we liked. I was like, are you sure? He said go for it, so I did. Our kitchen is a nice cool, milky white (necessary for the small space to brighten it up), the dining room is a gorgeous charcoal gray, the living room is a lovely light misty gray, the office has a red wall, the powder room is colonial blue, and I painted stripes up the stairs and in the hall. Whoever moves in after us will probably think we’re mad, but I swear it all works! I could live in the neverending beige that was there when we moved in.

  • Kate

    Not from ModCloth at all, but I love love love that style of vanity with the fold up mirror

    • Meg Keene

      I was kind of hoping someone would mention it! So that is my great grandmother’s vanity, and has been used by women on down the line. And Uncle bought both her and her sister antique vanities, so it’s got to be 200 years old. It’s in my possession in the moment, and it’s magical.

  • Kayjayoh

    We bought our home and moved in last September. Some of the big/little changes that have been helping have been:
    1. Painting. I have painted our bedroom (the smallest one), living room, and the two areas of the downstairs where we put up shelving. (Bookshelves in the hallway along the stairway and a china cabinet in the stupid small closet in the kitchen.) I picked colors that made me happy, and it really changed the spaces.

    2. Shelves. See above. Building wall shelves was pretty easy once we got started, and made better use of some odd spaces.

    3. We finally bought a couch! Just this Monday! It won’t arrive until October (Joybird is making it to order) but it is going to look so nice and be so much better than the giant beanbag we’ve been using for the past two years,

    4. Decluttering. I’ve been slacking on this, but I have a date with myself to KonMari my clothes on Labor Day weekend. (I’ve already been doing minor purges as I take things out and find that they don’t fit, but this will be the BIG ONE.) Once that is done, art and craft supplies are next on the list. (It is hard to actually *do* arts and crafts if your supplies are taking up all the room. Weeding out the stuff I don’t use anymore will make the office/studio–“stoffice” space much more friendly and inviting.

    • Sarah E

      Every time I get down about our current (perfectly decent) living space, I get rid of things. I find it clears some mental space, as well.

    • Meg Keene

      Decluttering has been HUGE over here. Total game changer.

      And shelves. I’m all over them. We put similar shelving (minus the cabinets at the bottom) in our son’s room to organize toys, and again in the hall closet. I’m going to do them in the kids closets next. We’ve been using IKEA’s Algot system (their website is such a mess, you’d never think to use it, because it’s buried in the closet section), but it’s easy and good looking and versatile.

  • Jessica

    Ok, but where did you get the dress worn when sitting at the desk? It’s so cute!

    • Meg Keene

      Nasty Gal!

  • Ashlah

    Anyone else have trouble just committing to a decor idea and following through? Even though I logically know that anything can be changed at any time…there must be a reason our walls are still bare three years after we bought our house. I feel so uncertain about aesthetics and have so many different ideas that I can’t commit to one enough to invest the time or money into it–even just printing photos!

    • Eenie

      I’m currently paralyzed by paint colors and how much to fix the crappy dry wall work before painting :(

    • NolaJael

      My FH and I bought a house three years ago that is an okay first house; not big, not nice, not great. So we’ve taken to calling everything our “practice” run. We redid our bathroom down to the studs with no professional help – and yes, it’s not perfect. But it’s SO much better than what was there. And when the flooring started to crack after six months? (DIY first-timer poor decision flooring) We just said, “Oh well, it’s our practice bathroom.”

    • Hope

      I highly recommend the book “The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect.” She gives such an amazing pep talk about being bold and going for it. She counted the nail holes she has made (and filled on one wall: 86) and really made me feel not afraid to hang decor or paint.

  • Eenie

    I didn’t even realize, but I have been focusing on the dining area of our kitchen. We painted the kitchen first because the walls were red/brown and the ceiling was brown and felt like a cave. I JUST got a china cabinet that matches our kitchen table and displayed my grandmother’s china and stemware for the first time in six years. Placemats on the kitchen table are one of the things that makes me so happy, and they were a wedding gift <3 We just completely ignore the red/blue floor tile and rooster backsplash and it almost looks like a put together room.

    Any tips on painting or how to choose paint colors? Our current house lacks white ceilings, so the ceilings are going to be white for sure, but I'm struggling with whether to go with color for the bedrooms and bathrooms (living room is thankfully white already!!!). Our drywall is not in great shape, everywhere where the walls meet the ceiling the drywall tape is peeling on the ceiling side. Since our ceilings have the "stomp" texture I'm not quite sure how to fix it.

    • Colleen

      I can’t give any help on the drywall issue but I will say that buying those little jars of sample color and doing some test swatches on the wall is totally worth it. Colors can change so much from room to room and in different light, as the day progresses. Colors I’ve loved in the store I’ve ended up hating at home, on my own walls. I definitely recommend spending $20 bucks on samples you think you’ll like, painting a bunch of swatches, and living with them for a week or so. So much better, in the long run, than painting a whole room a color that just doesn’t do it for you!

      • StevenPortland

        But also be willing, that if you end up not liking the color then go ahead and repaint right away. Don’t force yourself to live with a color that you dislike. Our bathroom went through 3 colors in a few weeks and our living room has been 4 colors in the last 8 years.

    • Cutie Pie

      The Queen of Paint Colors –

      She says you need to coordinate paint with the hard fixtures that aren’t going away. You have to consider the undertones of everything in the room.

      It’s usually best to choose paint colors after furnishings instead of first. But if you’re going neutral, then choosing the paint color first is fine.

  • Amy March

    I know I’m being nosy, but you’ve written so many times about settling in for the long haul as renters- if you ever felt like sharing how buying all of a sudden came about I’d be interested to read that article!

    • Meg Keene

      Huh. I think I’d have to figure it out first. It really was SUPER sudden, it happened in a week. In part, we found something we didn’t think was there, because we moved way further out. Also, I’d been working for a coach for six months about getting over my issues about money, so that was a HUGE part of it. And we had two major deaths in the family, so that shook things up. I inherited some from my grandmother which I never saw coming. And that’s not actually how we bought the house (book payments, my friend), but I think the generosity helped open my iron fist of a grip on resources. Personal answer, but there you are.

      I should probably try to write out something though. Think it out.


    (If my husband thinks I am not buying this lamp for desk at home he is wronggggggg)

    • Meg Keene

      SURPRISE! I got a giant flamingo lamp!


        Ah, the joys of a shared office space with a dude who defines “decor” as “you will pry this lava lamp I stole from my college roommate out of my dead cold fingers”…

        • Kat

          Ugh my boyfriend is like this with the weird beer-related “decorations” he acquired in college. We’re closing on a house next week and I’m trying to convince him that if those stay in the kitchen, we need new counters/backsplash/paint because the current situation is BAD.

          • Bethany

            Ooo nice appliances though! I bet paint will go a long way in there, it looks like it could be a really pretty room!

          • Kat

            Yeah I’m thinking a pale blue/grey paint, new backsplash, and either butcher block or concrete counters to replace this truly horrible orange tile situation. Luckily the wood cabinets and new appliances are great! Honestly I’m so excited for the chance to live out my fixer-upper dreams. Lol

          • THOSE APPLIANCES THOUGH ♥‿♥ ♥‿♥ ♥‿♥

            As someone who owns a wine clock and has a husband who regularly leaves beer-brewing paraphernalia everywhere, I get this feel. You can make it classy, but it takes…um, work. And some arguments.

  • Colleen

    I haven’t finished reading this post because I got to the bit about how expensive rugs are and I had to jump down here and say! They have an insane selection and even more insane sales that usually coincide with holiday weekends (though they’re actually having a 90% off sale right now!) and shipping is often free. We got an 8 x 10 purple octopus rug (yes, it’s as ridiculous and awesome as it sounds) from them a few years ago that my husband might love more than anything else in our house. I’ve since bought a few more area rugs from them and have had nothing but good experiences. I definitely recommend checking them out if you’re in the market for flooring coverings and don’t have a babillion dollars to spend!

    • Meg Keene

      Yes! They’re great. We got our bedroom rug from them. It’s sort of thin, but huge and affordable and good looking, and perfectly fine for the bedroom. And in general they have quality and the best prices I’ve found. (Though Overstock is good too.)

      This go round I decided to really INVEST in the rug in the family room. I splurged on a few things when we moved in, namely: a sectional, a rug, and an exercise machine. All have felt HUGELY worth it. And the reason I did it is because we plan to be here 4EVAR if we can, and we spend a ton of time in that room. So I wanted to one and done it.

    • Rachel

      Our living room rug is from there too!! Love them! (because yes, I too was astonished at how much rugs freakin’ cost when I shopped for my first post-college 8×10 a few years ago) Ours is a dhurrie rug so it’s reversible and cheap and looks great (we have two dogs so I am probably not heavily investing in any kind of furniture or floor covering ever, haha).

    • StevenPortland

      My solution for expensive rugs is to buy carpet and have it bound to turn it into a rug. Very inexpensive way to get a really large rug. We went one step further and bought carpet in 4 colors and had it cut into strips and then sewn together to form a striped rug. The price went up quite a bit, but it is by far my favorite rug and semi-DIY.

  • macaroni

    Where oh where is that headboard from? I’ve been looking for a blue tufted headboard!

    • Meg Keene

      We made it! Turns out headboards are REAL expensive.

      • macaroni

        WHOA. You are definitely a way better DIYer than me! My BFF suggested that and I said I’d probably wind up crying on the floor. And I know!! I’ve been looking all over (Overstock, etc.) and all the ones I like are like $600. *shakes fist at sky* Damn you champagne taste & PBR budget!

      • eating words

        You can MAKE those?! That is a project I would actually consider getting into.

        • Meg Keene

          David did a fair amount of work on it, I was pregnant. But it’s pretty easy. Plywood, spray adhesive, batting, fabric, staple gun. And a drill and some buttons and wire. All in, not too bad, and really pretty cheap, depending on the fabric. Plus one day we can change the fabric out if we feel like it. Here is a good video:

  • Laura

    you’re so right about it taking time, we bought our house almost exactly one year ago – and it’s been SO fun to update it. we bought it from a little old lady who had lived there her entire life, it had never been sold outside the family. so far we’ve:
    – painted the entire thing top to bottom (so long, avocado green!)
    – pulled out both green and orange shag carpets, and replaced them with hardwood stairs and a newly carpeted basement
    – diy’ed a subway tile backsplash, painted the kitchen cabinets and replaced the kitchen counter
    – switched out 17 (!!!) light fixtures which were horrible, smoked glass
    – and this past weekend, we finally dug out and redid the gardens, which we are so proud of! we bought beautiful hydrangea and peony bushes and lots of others. last night at dusk, my husband said ‘let’s go admire the garden’ – it’s so nice to see the hard work pay off.

    next up is our (only) bathroom – i have it all planned out, just waiting for our bank account to agree!

    • JLily

      As someone who also has owned her house for about a year, I just want to say GREAT JOB! We haven’t even done half the amount of projects. They take so much more effort than they sound like!

  • Ellie Rockhill

    Elements of my dream home:

    1. Two bedrooms (mine = bright light white so much sunlight giant windows, etc. basically feels like heaven when you waltz in. considering putting my room in an attic where I can put skylights and basically be sleeping on the roof. must. have. light. then, a yoga mat, a reading corner with a lovely chair, and a coffee maker in my en suite because this feels fancy to me. his = dark dungeon basement with no windows… HAH. he cannot sleep with a single light on, and is finicky about ANY sound or movement or commotion. and his current bed, heaven help me, rotates between lavender sheets he got on sale and camo sheets, with a mismatching red and gold duvet. i don’t have to fix this, i can just have my own room. byeeee. oh, also i think he wants a tv in his room and i nope to this myself. and this is okay.)

    2. Two office nooks. (this goes back to my quaint attic idea. if i can find an old house with a big attic, i’ll turn one window into a writing/work space. nothing can be on the desk. plants on the windowsill. let my minimalism run rampant. his office nook: boy is a fantasy fiction writer and boy loves his action figures and guns and swords and so on, and uses these things to map fight scenes or get inspiration. he needs bookshelves for his reference books and, again, darkness. so boy gets the basement for all his weird boy needs (weird = makes me love him more).

    3. For some reason, a half bath that will be a disco rave??? Must have hot pink walls, black ceiling, crazy tile floors, black toilet, tiny chandelier, and an ultra-lux/oddball sink situation. I DON’T KNOW WHY but I have to have this.

    4. He needs a yard/land, so, as he puts it, he can walk out of the house in the morning and take a piss off the porch and shoot his gun. Also he wants a garden, and dogs, and we want a goat. So, land.

    5. A kitchen with enough room to play. Coming together to cook is one of our best bonding rituals and we cook something almost every day.

    Really, for me, as long as everything is organized and tidy I care less about the aesthetic. Issue being, my guy has proven to be less than tidy (though, thank goodness, he’s clean). I’m trying to just accept this and give us each our spaces to play so we can go on our merry ways and not strangle one another (as happened in my past relationship).